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Unfortunately, the best candidate for a job doesn’t always get an offer—it’s often the best interviewer.
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Unique Job Interview Preparation Strategies

How to stand out and make a lasting positive impression in job interviews

Photo portrait of Alison Foo, MSc, PMP
Alison Foo, MSc, PMP
Photo portrait of Alison Foo, MSc, PMP

Alison Foo is a career, communication and leadership coach. She’s passionate about changing lives through teaching professional skills. She has worked with graduate students, newcomers, marginalized groups, and professionals from various industries. Her specialty is the clinical and research sectors. Alison is also a clinical research professor. She teaches at Seneca College, McMaster University Continuing Education, and ACCES Employment. Previously, she worked on all phases of clinical trials and specialized in clinical trial management, clinical data management, clinical monitoring, and stakeholder management. When she’s not working or volunteering, she’s spending time with her rescue dog, watching Asian TV, and saving recipes she’ll never use.

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Published:Apr 18, 2024
|2 min read
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Unfortunately, the best candidate for a job doesn’t always get an offer—it’s often the best interviewer. We seldom have opportunities to practice interviewing, and considering how much rides on them, it’s natural for people to feel nervous about interviews. 

Despite completing many interviews for volunteering, work, and educational positions since before Google was invented (I’m not going to tell you how long ago that was for me), I still get nervous too. 

Now, I’m sharing some of the effective strategies I’ve developed for clients: 

Whether you’re starting your career, seeking a job change, or experienced in your field, this webinar, Unique Interview Preparation Strategies, will help you prepare for all of your future volunteer and job interviews. 

In this webinar, I provide guidelines for how to:

  1. Interpret interview questions to understand what employers are looking for.
  2. Prepare for interviews using tried and tested strategies.
  3. Respond to questions using effective answer structures.
  4. Come up with critical questions for the interviewers.
  5. Construct effective and standout thank you messages/emails after the interview.

If you’re networking and preparing for informational interviews, you’ll need the strategies found in this webinar: Networking Series Part 4: Effective Informational Interviews.

How to create a good impression during an interview

In volunteer and job interviews, many candidates focus on sharing what they’ve done in the past. Instead, I recommend using that opportunity to demonstrate how you can excel in the job, highlight unique skills/experiences you would bring with you, and show glimpses of your personality. 

In the webinar, I walk you through unique strategies for tackling common and difficult questions, such as

  • tell us about yourself
  • questions that highlight things you don’t have experience in
  • conflict-related scenario questions
  • weaknesses related to the job, and
  • questions about equity, diversity, inclusion, or accessibility.

My favorite strategy shared in the webinar is to mention one random fact about yourself. Ideally, you would choose something memorable, funny, relatable, and/or unexpected. The goal is for the hiring committee to refer to you as “the candidate who [your defining fact/incident/feature]” during their internal discussions. What might you share?

Using AI for interview preparation

While preparing for interviews, I also highly recommend using generative AI to simulate role-plays. Be sure to check out the webinar, Using AI for Job Search Strategies: A Career Coach’s Honest Opinion, for suggestions.

Reflecting on my most successful interviews, I can always pinpoint the exact moment that the interviewers saw me as a top candidate. What’s surprising is that each time was for completely different reasons. For instance, one employer was most impressed by my publications, another by a term I defined, and two others by how I handled their conflict-related questions. This indicates that each hiring manager prioritizes different competencies, which aren’t always reflected in the job description. 

Networking to gain inside perspectives can advise you on which achievements and skills to emphasize during your interview. 

You may also find these webinars helpful with your job search: 

Best of luck with your job search!